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Theater Review: ‘Private Lives’ Definitely One To Not Miss

Published: December 16, 2016

NEW MILFORD — There is a tremendous amount of talent in this neck of the woods, and nowhere is it more on display right now than at TheatreWorks New Milford’s excellent production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.

Director Frank Arcaro has staged this classic piece to perfection. This is a warning: do not miss this play. It is a splendid, and very entertaining, evening of theater.

From the moment the lights come up on the adjoining balconies of a lovely resort in the French countryside, things are not right. Newlyweds Sybil (Anna Fagan) and Elyot Chase (Jonathan Jacobson) are all kinds of out of balance. She is so young, bright-eyed, and in love. He is chastising and sarcastic, in an elegant sort of way. They cannot seem to agree on anything, and his brash behavior rattles the high-strung Sybil.

In the suite next door is a big surprise. Elyot’s ex-wife, Amanda Prynne (Vicki Sosbe), has checked in with her equally ill suited yet adoring, spanking new husband, Victor (J. Scott Williams). He worships Amanda. She recoils from him.

The exes meet on their adjoining balconies and find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. In comparison to their bland new mates, these two have fireworks going on. They crave the passion of their former relationship and decide to steal away together.

Holing up in Amanda’s Paris flat the two romp, reexplore, cavort, and irritate the heck out of each other. Their desire is of a very volatile nature. Their journey comes full circle when they are discovered by their new mates.

In brilliant Noel Coward style, the seamier and nastier underside of intimacy is on full, and outrageous, display. The writing is gorgeous, the language exquisite, and the insight hilarious.

This TheatreWorks cast is spectacular. Each actor gives an extraordinary performance. Get ready for a stream of superlatives.

Jonathan Jacobson’s Elyot is the perfect degree of sophistication, privilege, and debauchery. His performance is flawless.

Playing her Amanda with a fabulous blend of minx, adventuress, and seductress, Vicki Sosbe is divine.

Both of these actors are on stage throughout in demanding roles, and they meet the challenge with energy and aplomb. They are well served by the fantastic supporting players, Anna Fagan and J. Scott Williams, whose characters each find themselves befuddled and traumatized by their abandonment. These two are simply superb.

A French-speaking maid, played by Christina Van De Water, shows up to clean up the mess. Ms Van de Water is terrific in this role as she attempts to put things back in order.

The set, designed by Mr Arcaro, is gorgeous and magical as it morphs from the resort to Amanda’s bohemian Parisian flat.

Mr Coward’s work puts the irascible nature of relationships on full display with a huge dose of humor and wit. This is theater at its very best.

Performances continue most weekends through January 7; there are no performances scheduled for Christmas weekend.

Curtain is 8 pm Friday and Saturday; and 2 pm Sunday, December 18. Tickets are $23 for adults, $18 for students and active military members.

The New Year’s Eve performance is being done as a fundraiser for the theater. In addition to the performance, there will be refreshments and “outstanding cuisine,” according to the theater’s website. Tickets for December 31 are $75 each.

TheatreWorks New Milford is at 5 Brookside Avenue in New Milford. Call 860-350-6863 or visit theatreworks.us for tickets and additional information.

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